The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Five Finds on Friday: Patrick Carruthers


Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Patrick Carruthers, the new sous chef of Junction, which has just released a new menu. A preview:

Pistachio Crusted Lamb Rack | Spice Roasted Parsnips, Herbed Cous Cous, Mint-Cilantro-Pistachio Chimichurri

Cowgirl Spiced Duck Breast | Sweet Potato-Duck Confit Hash, Shaved Cumin Dusted Brussels Sprouts, Dried Fig, Hatch Pepper Duck Demi-Glace

Chili Rubbed Grilled Atlantic Salmon | Jumbo Lump Crab-Avocado Salad, Coconut-Cilantro Rice, Roasted Chayote Squash,  Lime Buerre Blanc

Carruthers’ picks:

1) Burger at Riverside Lunch. “There is a lot of great food in Charlottesville but you can’t beat a fresh burger with bacon, lettuce, and mayo between two buns, especially when it comes with a basket of shoestring fries covered in Lawry’s seasoned salt.”

2) Ricotta Gnocchi with Duck Confit at C & O. “Served with duck cracklins, it is the perfect amount of savory and sweet. Just eating it will make you feel rich.”

3) Anything in a Crepe at The Alley Light. “Coming from someone who has personally rolled out more of theses crepes than I can count, I have never lost appreciation for how amazing each and every combination comes together from pigs head with mushrooms and sherry vinegar to guinea hen with salsify and parmesan cheese.”

4) Happy Hour at RockSalt. “$1 oysters with a shot of bourbon and a cider at their outdoor bar is a go-to for me and Nicole when we aren’t in the kitchen at Junction.”

5) Biscuits and Red-Eye Gravy at The Pigeon Hole. “When The Corner clears out for summertime, The Pigeon Hole is a great brunch spot to grab a bloody mary, a patio seat, and some fluffy biscuits smothered in gravy. Plus, there is a handsome bartender who works there with a phenomenal head of hair who I am lucky to call one of my close friends.”

Bodo’s: The 2017 Ordering Guide


In Charlottesville, everyone’s got one. It’s part of what it means to live here. No, not an opinion on Confederate statues.

A go-to Bodo’s order.

Thing is, as safe and comforting as a go-to order is, it also can impede enjoyment of the myriad combinations of toppings available at Bodo’s. And so, when Bodo’s was entered into The Charlottesville 29 in 2012, the Bodo’s guide included recommendations from the experts – Bodo’s longtime staff and owners. Bodo’s staff famously are allowed anything they want during their work breaks, so long as they make it themselves. That allows for lots of experimentation, and the results are stellar.

Five years later, for those who have plowed through the initial list of outstanding recommendations, here is an updated list of staff’s single favorite way to enjoy a Bodo’s bagel. This time around, the list also includes picks from the owners’ children.

Looking to break out of a sausage-egg-and-cheese rut? Inspiration:

2017 Picks

Owner’s Children’s Picks

  • Alexander: Turkey on a Plainbacon, lettuce, EZ mayo
  • Gus: Cucumber on a Garlic, mayo
  • Orly: Bacon on a Plain, cinnamon sugar, butter 

Staff Picks

  • Kelli: Egg and Bacon on a Cinnamon Raisin, Swiss, American, tomato, mayo, EZ mustard
  • Alyssa: Egg and Sausage on a Cinnamon Raisin, muenster, jalapeno lime cream cheese, sprouts, onions, horseradish, mustard
  • Sara: Hummus on a Wheat, Swiss, avocado, tomato, sprouts, cucumber, onions
  • Scott: Five Slices of Tomato on a Salt, jalapeno lime cream cheese, honey, EZ mayo and black pepper (very messy!)
  • Jojo: Tomato on a Plain, mayo
  • Miranda: Lox Spread on a Sesame, cucumber, onion
  • Adam: Turkey on an Everything, cheddar, provolone, onions, mayo, mustard, horseradish
  • Ashley: Pulled Chicken on an Everything Wheat, sprouts, EZ onion, tomato, XT mayo, XT bbq 
  • Jered: Ham and Smoked Turkey on an Everything, hot, muenster, Swiss, sprouts, tomato, onion, mayo, mustard, bbq, pepper spread
  • Alec: Capicola on an Everything, Swiss, jalapeno lime cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion
  • Evan: Roast Beef, Corned Beef, and Pastrami on an Everything, Swiss, provolone, muenster, lettuce, tomato, onions, sprouts, cucumber, horseradish, kalamata, mayo, mustard 

2012 Picks

Owner Picks

  • Kokola:  Smoked Turkey on an Everythinghot, cheddar, herb cream cheese, sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, tomato
  • Smith: Lox on an Everythingwatercress, corn salad, pesto, lettuce, onion, EZ mayo
  • JensonAvocado on an Everything, cheddar, sprouts
  • Fox (founder and former owner):  Pastrami on an Everythingkalamata spread, tomato, onions

Staff Picks

  • Amanda:  Peanut butter on a Raisinwalnut cream cheese
  • ShequitaEgg and ham on a Wheatvegetable cream cheese
  • Sam:  Egg and sausage on an Everything, cheddar
  • Crystal B.:  Egg white and ham on a Garlicswiss, feta, sprouts, onions, mustard
  • Patrick:  Sausage on a Raisinmuenster, lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo, mustard
  • Kayla: American Cheese on a Plainhotbutter
  • BriannaTurkey on a Whole Wheathot, provolone, pesto, cucumber, onions
  • Shelly:  Turkey on an Everythingprovolone, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo
  • Anna F.:  Smoked turkey on an Everythingcheddar, bacon, avocado, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo, pepper spread
  • Justine T.:  Smoked turkey on an Everythingmuenster, bacon, vegetable cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, mustard, horseradish
  • Joe:  Smoked turkey on an Everythinghot, Swiss, hummus, kalamata olive spread, pesto, mustard
  • Keith:  Smoked turkey on an Everythingmuenster, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard
  • HannahHam on an Everythinghot, American, lettuce, mayo
  • Victoria:  Ham on an Onionhot, provolone, American, butter, mustard
  • Beth D.:  Pastrami on an Everythingmuenster, pesto,  sprouts, watercress, lettuce, onions
  • MikePastrami on a PlainSwiss, pesto, mayo
  • Jered:  Corned Beef on a RaisinSwiss, sprouts, honey, mayo, caesar dressing
  • Cody:  Salami on a Plainmuenster
  • Emily:  Tuna on an OnionSwiss, sprouts, tomato, mustard, pepper spread
  • Ricardo:  Tuna on an Everythingcheddar, bacon, avocado, lettuce
  • Matt:  Tuna on an Everything Wheatbacon, lettuce, tomato
  • Kelly:  Chicken salad on an Everything
  • Claudia:  Egg salad on a Plainbacon
  • Cindy:  BLT on an Onionmayo
  • OliviaNoBull Burger on a Sesameprovolone, avocado, sprouts, watercress, onions, mayo, mustard

Someone Brought Me Cheese


Someone brought me cheese, and it got me thinking. This was a good thing, and not just because it took my mind off negronis. It was good because it lured me beyond my usual reflecting on the Charlottesville food community this time actually to write about it. Every day I see reminders of how blessed we are to live in a food community as special as ours. If I had more time, I would record them all. Each moment. Alas, other priorities prevent it – a beautiful wife, kids I want to spend every minute with, and, oh yeah, my real job.

I was at Lampo. With me were folks from a national food magazine, visiting for a project about Charlottesville. My role was to help connect the magazine with people and places that showcase the best of Charlottesville. This seemed made for me. Celebrating Charlottesville’s food and drink, after all, is why I started writing about it in the first place.  We are the little food city that could.

Lampo knew we were coming. And so, after we ordered and settled into geeky food talk, one of the co-owners visited with a gift. But, instead of a dish made by Lampo’s talented chefs, the gift was simply a board of cheese: two from Twenty Paces – Noah’s Arcade and Commander Chicory (aka Ewe’r My Boy Blue), and one from Caromont Farm – Esmontonian. “While you’re in town,” he explained, “we thought you might want to taste some of our area’s great products.”

I was struck.

Here was Lampo’s chance to pound their chest and show off – a captive audience from a magazine capable of reaching thousands. My guests surely would have been wowed by any of their dishes to make Five Finds on Friday, The Charlottesville 29 2016 or 2015 Dish of the Year, or the annual list of chefs’ Best Thing I Ate All Year. But, Lampo sent out none of those. What Lampo chose to show off was Charlottesville.

In other cities, similar circumstances might trigger a restaurant to pull out all the stops to wow their visitors, like a child repeating to her parent: “Watch this! Watch this!”  Instead, Lampo said: “Look what our friends can do.”

That’s Charlottesville.

Never for money, always for love.

We are blessed.